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That year, a team led by radio astronomer Duncan Lorimer of West Virginia University in Morgantown accidentally found the first FRB by analyzing old observations of the 64-meter radio telescope in Parkes, Australia.

Fast Radio Bursts are highly-energetic, but very short-lived (millisecond) bursts of radio waves whose origins have remained a mystery since the first one was discovered in 2007. Now, they have pinpointed its location.

They were first discovered in 2007 but little is known about them particularly because they only last for a few seconds.

After nearly a decade since the first fast radio bursts (FRB) were discovered, an worldwide research team has observed the existence of a similar signal in a dwarf galaxy that is present in the constellation Auriga.

The surprising finding could provide clues about the source of these radio bursts. An alternate explanation claimed FRBs were coming from a single neutron star that was rotating with great power. Now they can do astrophysical analysis on the source of this burst and identify the galaxy that contains its point of origin. They speculated that the FRBs could result from a superdense star whose physics may allow for regular bursts of radio waves, or a human-built spy satellite which disguises its transmissions to appear as signals from deep space.

Fortunately, one discovered in 2012 with the 305-meter radio telescope in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, turned out to repeat at irregular intervals. It remains to be seen whether all FRBs are repeating types or if there are two classes of radio bursts - one sustained and the other occurring just once. For one particular burst, however, extraterrestrial life could now be ruled out. Another possibility is a massive black hole within FRB 121102's host galaxy, which could cause the radio signals.

It's possible thousands occur every day-but the reason we don't detect more of them is that the odds of one being in a specific patch of sky are small.

"When we reported past year that one of these objects was repeating, that - in one go - knocked out about half of those models, because for this one source, at least, we knew it couldn't be explosive", Dr. Chatterje told the BBC.

To help solve the mystery, researchers from various USA universities used the Karl G Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) in New Mexico to figure out the origin of a flash known as FRB 121102.

That news made headlines a year ago.

A composite image of FRB 121102, located in a dim and distant host galaxy.

The next step is identifying the nature of the source.

"We think that the bursts and the continuous source are likely to be either the same object or that they are somehow physically associated with each other", said Benito Marcote from the Joint Institute for VLBI ERIC in Dwingeloo, Netherlands, in a press release.

But much more work is needed to pin down the physical mechanism of what causes these mysterious bursts, says Chatterjee.

The radio emissions are notoriously hard to trace, partly because they're over in a matter of milliseconds.

The recent appearance of FRB 121102 could also offer its origin.

"But at the wrong wavelength, the wavelengths are Doppler shifted because this dwarf galaxy is moving away from us", he said. But according to scientists, I shouldn't get too attached to this idea.

Given that FRBs flash for just a few milliseconds, pinpointing the source of these enigmatic bursts is easier said than done.


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